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Manifest: Graveyard Spiral

Officer: “In the future, maybe there are better ways to advertise your new restaurant.”
Grace: “Advertise?”
Tarik: “I'm sorry. I didn't mean for this to happen.”
Grace: “Tarik, what did you do? What did you do?”

It’s the actual death date of the Meth Heads, and Jace is determined to take others with him. The missing piece of the papyrus finally shows up, and it yields a new, stomach-churning insight into the Callings.

We’re shown a fight between Jace and Michaela. She’s scrappy, but why doesn’t she run when she has the chance? I know she feels responsible for Jace, but he took her gun and she’s at a terrible disadvantage. Also, he throws her over the cliff instead of shooting her, which seems strange given how he feels about her.

We also get a morning at the Stones, with Ben going up with Pete and Angelina and FBI guy to stop Jace (I guess they all stayed the night at the Stones). Angelina insists on going with Pete – although she rides with Ben – but Olive heads back to the campus to learn more about the last trial. I guess she wasn’t grounded after the last episode.

It turns out Grace did not tell Tarik everything about the Callings and the danger they were in. Not only is that crappy and stupid of her, it seems illogical. She has imposed on him by showing up at his house and moving in for nearly three months. She is responsible for putting him in danger. I remember how angry she was at not being told everything back in season one; she should have known better.

Of course, Grace did warn Tarik some, enough to make him feel guilty for leaking promoting the fact that his nephew is an 828er. And, of course, Jace is the one who is truly responsible for Tarik’s death. One reason I have not been crazy about this arc is because Jace is just an inexplicably vicious maniac. Why does he hurt everyone he meets? At least Pete tries to stop him.

Olive goes to the campus to study the papyrus. There’s some really bad filler about her getting it back from some guys who were taking it away. Then her dad’s missing briefcase – stolen by Eagan several episodes ago, and containing the piece of papyrus that was in the vase that Eagan stole from the museum – finally arrives at Astoria and is given to Olive. The papyrus scrap is key, and it contains the sucky end of the last trial.

I call it sucky, because it sucks for the people it affects. Pete and Kory, despite how much they strive to redeem themselves – how they congratulate themselves for still being alive after Jace drowns on dry land – they both die. Their deaths are not drowning deaths. Instead Jace’s black soul emerges from his corpse and reaches out and takes out Pete and Kory.

In terms of plot and philosophy, I love, absolutely love, this move by Manifest. We have a new and unexpected rule from the Callings. People are saved not as individuals, but as groups. Zeke survived his second death date because he redeemed himself. However, he returned from his death by himself. He was the only one in his group, so his redemption depended only on himself.

It also raises the stakes to damned near impossible. How can the passengers survive when there are 180+ of them? Especially when we know Saanvi already murdered someone? On the other hand, how many are going to be as horrible as Jace? How awful do you have to be? How good do you have to be?

And to those who feel, well that’s unfair, I want to bring up two ideas. First, a law of the Universe may seem unfair, but like gravity, arguing with it is not going to work. The Universe owes us nothing. Second, although our souls may be evaluated individually, the fate of humanity depends on what all of humanity does. It is not enough not to do something evil; we have to stop the evil being done by others. For example, it’s not enough to choose not to trigger a nuclear bomb; we need to make sure others don’t trigger nuclear bombs. We’re all in this together; it’s all connected.

It seems the Callings brought the Meth Heads back – and had them chase down Cal – in order to demonstrate this principle to the passengers, especially to Ben and Michaela. It was really hard on several, though: Pete, Kory, Tarik and dead FBI guy. Angelina and Grace are also distressed; Angelina has lost the love of her life and Grace has lost her brother.

Title musings: “Graveyard Spiral” is the title of the episode. In aviation, according to Wikipedia, “a graveyard spiral is a type of dangerous spiral dive entered into accidentally by a pilot who is not trained or not proficient in flying in instrument meteorological (IMC)”. Jace does not understand the conditions, and thinks that to survive, he needs to take Cal with him. However, his interpretation is wrong, and he dies. He takes Pete and Kory with him, and before that he killed Tarik and the FBI agent. Certainly a lot of graveyard here; the title works.

Bits and pieces

Jace takes out the FBI agent first, which makes sense: one should assume that the agent would be a good shot. But I am surprised at how good a shot Jace is. He has been in prison. When does he have time to shoot? Yet he gets the FBI agent square in the forehead.

I don’t see how hiding in the root cellar would work. Hiding in the root cellar works when the door is covered with dead leaves. But to make sure it’s still covered with dead leaves, you need someone outside.

Speaking of leaves, it’s June 13, 2020, but the trees have no leaves. Well, the pandemic totally messed up Manifest’s shooting schedule. Moreover, there are several scenes when the actors are shivering so convincingly I think they’re genuinely cold.

I like how Zeke not only reads Michaela’s mind, but actually feels her pain.

Why is Cal so central to everything? That’s a mystery for another day, I guess.

Kept thinking of, “So let it be written. So let it be done,” as Ramses (Yul Brynner) in The Ten Commandments kept saying. As Olive cleans the scrap of papyrus, in which the guys in the story all die, the two remaining Meth Heads die.


Ben: Pete has done his absolute best with his second chance. He's gonna survive this.
Angelina: I just wish we knew what the Callings meant by "Last Chance." For what? What is Pete supposed to do?
Ben: Maybe it's not just him. Can you dial Jared Vasquez? Pete said he heard Cal's voice. Whenever that's happened before, all three of them heard it.

Michaela: No, do not put your voodoo empath stuff on me.
Zeke: What? You don't want your husband knowing exactly what you're thinking at every moment?
Michaela: No, I don't want my husband feeling what I'm feeling when this pops back into place.
Zeke: Your husband can take it.

Michaela: What? How?
Olive: I don't know. It was in Dad's bag. He lost it after he and that Eagan guy completed a Calling, and it just... it randomly showed up here.

Olive: No, Dad, the last trial isn't about each person being judged individually. They all came back together, and now they're all being judged together.

Overall rating

There were several things I didn’t like about this. I hated the fact that Grace didn’t tell Tarik everything sooner – my God, she was endangering him! she knows what the ignorance is like! I have never liked the one-note evil of Jace. There are several other problems, noted above, although I must also concede this would be a really difficult episode to get right, with all the action and all the running around, especially if they were shooting in the time of the pandemic. On the other hand, I loved the twist that the three Meth Heads were judged together. There’s stuff pulling down the episode, and stuff bringing it back up. Three out of four scraps of papyrus.

Victoria Grossack loves math, birds, Greek mythology, Jane Austen and great storytelling in many forms.


  1. I found myself getting impatient with the meth heads plot and with Tarik, but then, like you, I was completely taken in by the plot twist that Jace's evil and refusal to be redeemed brought down Pete and Kory, and the implications for the passengers. It feels like an impossible situation. Manifest, I'm impressed.

  2. Cool that we're having similar emotional reactions to the same issues. Also, the fact that Manifest was planning to kill off the Meth Heads and Tarik could be a reason they were less appealing. It's too depressing to kill off too many characters the fans really like.

  3. I knew that the Meth Heads were being judged together. I thought they knew that too, which is why Pete & Michaela tried so hard to get Jace to release his anger. But he didn’t understand or want to listen. That’s why I was initially surprised Kory & Pete survived. Until they didn’t. I felt bad for Pete and Tarik. I also figured last episode that Tarik wasn’t going to last the season.

    I’m glad this plot line is done. Angelia needs to go, as well. She’s serves no purpose and is a weak, sniveling lump of clay. Why she became so enamored of Pete is beyond me. He seemed like a decent guy who had horrible circumstances thrust upon him; not to mention an evil brother.


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